So What About Domino @ IBM Connect? Review Post #2

Domino was very visible at Connect this year, not only in both of the opening sessions but in about 40% of the sessions overall.   The ones I picked to attend were talking about strategy and futures so that’s what I wanted to talk about here.

Verse on premises which shipped at the end of Dec 2016 is a very nice browser mail client right now which is easy to install on your Domino server (and you should) but it’s missing an updated calendar interface,  so I was pleased to hear the commitment to deliver that and other functionality to bring on premises in line with Verse in the cloud.  If you don’t have Verse installed on premises now on your Domino servers you need to be looking at it as your path forward.

Feature packs continue to be the strategic path with updates coming via FP installers but with template updates slipstreamed in optionally and separately downloadable through Fix Central.  I wouldn’t look for the templates to ship in step with the feature packs so you’re going to have to plan to subscribe to fix central for updates if you aren’t already.

From Barry Rosen’s strategy presentation here are a couple of snapshots showing planned feature pack features including those for FP8 which should ship soon.

Notes Feature Pack highlights screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-20-51-26

Domino Application Development feature pack highlights (FP8 shipping soon)screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-20-51-41

 

For application design the path IBM appear to be on is one we and many other Business Partners have been pursuing for some time with Domino as a back end data store and a web based UI on whatever platform you choose.  To that end the really good news is that we will finally be getting some extensions to the existing REST APIs including ones for

  • Directory
  • Mail Contacts
  • Mail File Search
  • Polling for changes in databases

In addition the application modernisation story at the conference was focused around partner solutions.  Of particular interest is Panagenda’s ApplicationInsights tool coming in a freemium model to all maintenace customers in Q2.  That version I believe will allow you to analyse your most prominent existing applications and instances to see what is being used by who and how. More information about it can be found here.

So lots of Domino sessions, lots of talk of future client and server developments, lots of confirmation of support at least to 2021.  For a nearly 30 year old product that’s not bad going.  With the investment in Verse and the introduction of cognitive features in on premises applications as well as a cognitive plugin for Notes, I’m feeling positive about where we are and the support IBM are offering.

Oh and my watch word for 2017 continues to be “Hybrid”

 

 

Connections 5 Customisations – Problems With Stylesheets

This weekend we upgraded a site with heavy customisation from Connections 4.5 to Connections 5 CR1.  Part of that migration was using the lc-migrate tool to export and import the artifacts and ensuring the customisations (customizations for any google searches!) were in place.  All seemed to be fine for a couple of weeks but then suddenly our custom stylesheet was replaced by the default Connections 5 theme.

That made no sense, no changes were done and the css and images were still in the right place under /customizations/themes/defaultTheme – where they had always been.  Looking at SystemOut everything seemed fine.  I cleared the temp folders (/profiles/AppSrv01/temp and wstemp as well as /config/temp) and tried updating the version stamp using wsadmin (LCConfigService.updateConfig(“versionStamp”,””) and restarting EVERYTHING but no luck.

Luckily my subsequent PMR ended up with Susan who remembered an internal PMR that referenced changes in how customisations work.  Specifically that relative URLs for images no longer work either when used in stylesheets so

(“images/customersite.gif”

has to become

(“/com.ibm.lconn.core.styles.oneui3/gen4Theme/images/customersite.gif”)

The detail for this isn’t in the documentation that I could find but this IBM’er has a great blog piece on it

Paul Godby Connections Customization

In addition the defaultTheme folder (as specified in the documentation) no longer works for custom stylesheets. You have to use a folder called gen4Theme and move the stylesheets in there.

Luckily I was working with the amazing Mark Myers on this who pulled out the stops and got the CSS changed and working (dynamic sizing and all) overnight.

..aaaannnndd we’re back in business.   Go Team!

p.s. the reason it had looked fine for us for weeks across several people/ machines and browsers was caching of the original design elements.

Connections DB Schemas

A fantastic visual representation of the key relationships in Connection database schemas by Mark Myers.  None of this is documented by IBM publicly so this is entirely Mark’s effort to take apart and document.  Some of us have tried it in pieces but this is by far the most comprehensive and useful attempt to document the underlying architecture I’ve seen.

Another one for the bookmarks…

http://www.stickfight.co.uk/blog/Connections-Db-Schema-Tip2-Finding-the-UserID

Dukes of Hazzard Analogy

I was talking about development and customers today, and remembered an email I once sent to a customer a long time ago.

The customer was complaining that the system that we had developed and that he had been using for a few years did not do a certain thing. We should add it for free because it should have been included from the beginning as it was an obvious requirement.

I used this analogy in my reply:

Imagine you are the Dukes of Hazzard. You have been getting in and out of your car by the windows for years. The doors were welded shut and you did not spend the extra money to strengthen the car while still allowing them to open. However, you always get in and out by the windows so you have never minded this. Now you would like to open the doors and want the mechanic to make this happen for free because obviously doors should open.

He accepted this argument, and gave us the money to fix the doors.